Matt Bates

Matt Bates

Matt Bates
Analytical Chemist
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My role at the ZERO2FIVE Food Industry Centre

As an Analytical Chemist specialising in Volatile Organic Compound (VOC) analysis, I work closely with our technical team here at ZERO2FIVE, on a variety of projects supporting the Welsh food and drink industry. 

My role is to bring high-quality VOC sampling and analysis to our established sensory testing capabilities and to enhance our product offering for Welsh SMEs through Project HELIX.

With regards to food, VOCs are responsible for the aroma of a food or drink product. Recent projects that I have been working on with ZERO2FIVE have included looking at flavoured water, lamb and non-alcoholic botanicals for Welsh food and drink businesses, both large and small. 

Based on these early successes, I am extending our analytical capability; this includes thermal extraction and an odour port for sniffing eluting compounds on gas chromatography (GC). 

My role also involves reaching out and making connections and collaborations with other universities specialised in food analysis, especially sensory work. 

A secondary role is to boost academic research across the Cardiff School of Sport and Health Sciences, working with both the ZERO2FIVE team and those more aligned with the health sciences. Current projects include looking at wound volatiles as a diagnostic tool for infection diagnosis.

Previous Experience

Having studied a Masters of Chemistry and French at the University of Manchester (with a sandwich year spent in industry in Lyon), I moved out to France for a further four years to work with the French government. 

 Based just north of Paris, my role was to develop new techniques, and instrumentation to assess population exposure to toxic compounds such as benzene and formaldehyde. The project was a great success, culminating in European wide monitoring using passive sampling technology we developed (the so-called MACBETH project) and helped pave the way for a greater understanding of our exposure to toxins indoors. 

 When I moved back to the UK in 1999, I worked for an instrumentation company specialised in VOC analysis in a variety of technical and commercial roles. During that time, I worked on several exciting projects and applications, including: 

  •  Monitoring for toxic VOCs around the UN building in New York whilst it was in session 
  • Chemical weapons destruction sites
  • Finding survivors in collapsed buildings through their chemical signatures 
  • IED detection for troop protection 
  • Analysing biro ink to determine how recently modifications had been made to official paperwork. 

However, my underlying passion has always revolved around the VOCs related to aroma and fragrance and I left to set my own business up in 2014. In doing so, I have extensive experience of working with a broad range of multi-nationals (consumer products, instrumentation development, defence, flavour and fragrance, environmental and pharma) on specialist projects. 

Since starting in my new role at Cardiff Met University, I have found it rewarding to work on specialist VOC projects that not only support Welsh food and drink business owners but contribute to driving further academic research in health sciences.

Qualifications and Professional Memberships


  • MChem (Chemistry and French), Manchester University
  • MPhil (Environmental VOC analysis), French government